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Summer 2009

Tours in Turkey
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Istanbul 2010

Chora Museum,  Kariye Museum, Kariye Camii, Church of Holy Savior in Chora



Before setting off for Turkey here are some ideas and tips to help you get prapered.

For most countries Turkey employs a landing visa that you can get at any of the international airports.
For further detailed information, see web-site of Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Although Turkey is situated at the Mediterranean geographical location where climatic conditions are quite temperate, diverse nature of the landscape, and the existence in particular of the mountains that run parallel to the coasts, result in significant differences in climatic conditions from one region to the other. While the coastal areas enjoy milder climates, the inland Anatolian plateau experiences extremes of hot summers and cold winters with limited rainfall.
In Istanbul and around the Sea of Marmara the climate is moderate (winter 4C and summer 27C); in winter however the temperatures can drop below zero. In Western Anatolia, there is a mild Mediterranean climate with average temperatures of 9C in winter and 29C in summer. The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have cool, rainy winters and hot, moderately dry summers.
On the southern coast of Anatolia similar climatic conditions are observed. The climate of the Anatolian Plateau is a steppe climate. There is a great temperature difference between day and night. Rainfall is low but it usually in form of snow. The average temperature is 23C in summer and -2C in winter. The climate in the Black Sea area is wet, and humid (summer 23C, winter 7C). The Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of rainfall. In Eastern Anatolia and South-Eastern Anatolia there is a long winter, and snow remains on the ground from November until the end of April (the average temperature in winter is -13C and in summer 17C).

Marmara, Aegean, and Mediterranean coasts: These coasts have a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. 
The swimming season becomes shorter the further north one goes: Marmara and North Aegean - June to September; South Aegean and Mediterranean - April to October.
Black Sea Coast: Warm summers, mild winters, and relatively high rainfall.
Central Anatolia: Steppe climate with hot, dry summers; cold winters.
Eastern Anatolia: Long snowy cold winters with mild summers.
Southeast Anatolia: Hot summer with mild, rainy winters.

Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean coasts: Light, cotton summer clothing and cardigans for evening.
Black Sea, Central and Eastern Anatolia: Summer wear, warmer clothing should be taken for cool evenings at high altitudes.
-Comfortable shoes are necessary for visiting archeological and historical sites.
-Sun hats and sunglasses are advisable in the summer.

With its developing economy and the movements in globalizaton, the routine life is also changing to adopt the rest of the world. One of outstanding example is the currency. The new currency effective January 2005 is called the New Turkish Lira (YTL) equals 1.35 USD and 1,60 Euro nowadays.
Most credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Diners Club are widely accepted at hotels, restaurants, shops etc. But please check for the sign of the card at shops before starting to shop.
Travelers checques are also accepted at most touristic places, but do not forget to talk to your bank before leaving.

Turkish is the main language used nationwide but English has become very popular having the advantages of being second language at universities, secondary schools and even at primary schools with the new educational system. The main European languages such as German, Italian, French, Russian and Spanish are also widely spoken especially in the touristic areas

Turkey offers one of the most delicious cuisines based on different regional differences and cultures. The variety of dishes that make up Turkish Cuisine, the ways they all come together in feast-like meals, and the evident intricacy of each craft offer enough material for life-long study and enjoyment. It is not easy to discern a basic element or a single dominant feature, like the Italian "pasta" or the French "sauce". Whether in a humble home, at a famous restaurant, or at a dinner in a Bey's mansion, familiar patterns of this rich and diverse Cuisine are always present. It is a rare art which satisfies one's senses while reconfirming the higher order of society, community and culture. A cuisine that you can describe as " lifetime experience... ."

Crime against tourists in Turkey is not something common, but you will have to keep your eyes open especially in a crowded street during high season or late at night. However, in the last few years no serious crimes have occurred, and the Police mostly deal with purse-snatching and pickpocket cases.

In a city like Istanbul, public buses are very common and useful to move around the city. The prices are around 1 USD per person per ride. A light rail system and metro also can be used for the same price, but they are not as convenient as buses due to limited destinations.
Taxis are also very common with the reasonable fare rate comparing to Europe. The "Dolmush" is another interesting way to travel. The idea is sharing taxi, but especially in Anatolia mini buses are used as dolmush and they stop anywhere on the route.
Coaches are the most popular form of travelling between cities. They are very convenient especially in the tourist season. They travel usually at night for the long distances. Trains are also prefered but due to very long hours of travelling it is not suggested. It may be an experience if you have no problem with time.
Renting a car is one of the most preffered form of service provided by national and international dealers.

Yachts require a Transit Log and may remain in Turkish waters for up to two years maintenance or for wintering. There are certain ports licensed by the Ministry of Tourism the storage of yachts for a period of two to five years. For further information and regulations contact the marina concerned.
Upon arriving in Turkish waters, yachts should immediately go for the control of the boat to the nearest port of entry which are as follows: Iskenderun, Botas (Adana), Mersin, Tasucu, Anamur, Alanya, Antalya, Kemer, Finike, Kas, Fethiye, Marmaris, Data, Bodrum, Gllk Didim, Kusadasi, esme, Izmir, Dikili, Ayvalik, Akay, anakkale, Bandirma, Tekirdag, Istanbul, Zonguldak, Sinop, Samsun, Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon, Rize, Hopa.
Port Formalities: All the required information concerning the yacht, yachtsmen, members, intended route, passports, customs declarations, health clearance, and any obligatory matters must be entered in the Transit Log.
The Transit Log is to be completed by the captain of a yacht under a foreign flag or amateur sailor acting as captain of the vessel.
The Transit Log is completed upon first entering a Turkish port and, generally, it is necessary to contact the Harbour Authority before leaving. For information on tax-free fuel, contact the Marina Harbour Office.
Note: If you have a certificate from the Tourism Ministry Yacht Harbour, you may take petrol at no charge, provided you possess an official marina license.

99% of the Turkish population is Moslem. The remaining is composed of Orthodox Christians, Gregorian Christians, Catholic, Suryani and Protestant Christians, and Jews. Although most of the population is Moslem, Turkey is a secular country and everyone has freedom of religion and beliefs. No one can be forced to participate in religious ceremonies or rites against their will and no blame can be attached to anyone because of their beliefs.
The 600 years Islamic reigned Ottoman empire collapsed in the 1920's and after the independence war leaded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk the principle of secularism introduced to the Turkish people.
Turkey is the only country among the Islamic countries which has included secularism in her Constitution and practices it.
Anatolia has always been the meeting point of different religions as well as different cultures. It is one of the best example of outstanding places where a mosque, a church and a sinagog built next to each other, which is based on latitude and hospitality that is the spirit of this land and her children.

Working Hours
: Offices and banks are generally open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Monday to Friday, with a break between 12:00 to 1:30 PM 
National / Official Holidays:
Apr 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day (anniversary of the establishment of Turkish Grand National Assembly)
May 19 Atatrk Commemoration and Youth & Sports Day (the arrival of Atatrk in Samsun, and the beginning of the War of Independence)
Aug 30 Victory Day (victory over invading forces in 1922)
Oct 29 Republic Day (anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic)
Ramazan Bayram / Sugar Feast : Three-day festival when sweets are eaten to celebrate the end of the fast of Ramazan. (A Moslem moveable feast) (The dates of these religious festivals change according to the Muslim lunar calendar and thus occur 12 days earlier each year.)
Kurban Bayram / Sacrifice Feast : (A Moslem moveable feast) Four-day festival when sacrificial sheep are slaughtered and their meat distributed amongst the poor, neighbors and within the family

Those who use 110 V or any other than 220 V at home need a converter as Turkey has 220 V power system. Please check your electric appliances before you use them in your hotel room. Only the five stars deluxe properties would have converters so it is advised to bring one with you in case it is needed.

Turkey is a shopper's paradise for everything from beautiful handwoven carpets, ceramics, and handicrafts to wonderful jewelry, antiques, and leather goods. From Istanbul's fabulous covered Grand Bazaar to Bursa's colorful Silk Market, Turkey's many traditional markets overflow with treasures that beckon visitors to buy, buy, and buy. Please see some of our tips below:
Carpets and kilims
Carpets and kilims were part of Turkish nomadic households a thousand years before the Turks settled in Anatolia and lived in houses instead of tents and yurts. Beautiful handmade carpets are sold everywhere in Turkey. A relatively new seccade (prayer rug, 1 meter [or yard] by 2 meters [or yards]) in a traditional style might sell for US$150 to US$400, depending on its quality, materials, rarity and condition
Turkey has been famous for excellent faience (colored tilework) since the 16th century, when the kilns of Iznik turned out some of the most beautiful work ever made. The classic Iznik pieces are now classified as antiquities and may not be exported, but the master potters of Ktahya are still making excellent plates, bowls, cups, tiles and other items in the traditional way. They're sold all over Turkey for prices from a few US dollars to several hundred, depending on the item and its quality.
Turkey is a good place to look for big, bold, old necklaces, brooches, clasps, belts and other items, as well as finer, more delicate modern work. Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is good, as is the Egyptian (Spice) Market, but shops and bazaars in other towns will have interesting selections as well. When buying silver or gold, be sure to look for the maker's hallmark stamped into an inconspicuous part of the piece, certifying that it is genuine. Pewter and nickel-silver are sometimes passed off as sterling silver, though not by reputable dealers.
Istanbul is the center of the trade, but all cities have shops soft leather and suede coats, jackets, skirts, dresses, vests, hats, gloves, handbags, wallets and many other items

In Turkey, there are many opportunities to benefit from Tax Free Shopping, more than 2.000 retail outlets are offering the service. The affiliated stores are displaying our well-known Tax Free Shopping logo, and helpful staff will guide you through the process.
You pay 18% or 8% VAT on the purchases you make. Commonly used VAT rate is 18%, while 8% is mainly in food and some books. The VAT is included in the price. All visitors residing outside of Turkey, including Turkish Nationals living abroad are entitled to claim back the tax, if they spend TL 118.000.000.- (approx. US$ 70) or more in one shop in one day.
The goods need to be exported within three months following the month of purchase.
Example: If you make your purchases on April 10th, you must leave the country no later than July 31st.
After deduction of the handling expenses, you will receive a refund of up to 12,5 % of the purchase price. Global Refund is offering several possibilities to receiving your refund.

A refund in 3 easy steps
Shop where you see the Global Refund Shopping sign and simply ask for your Tax Refund Cheque.
Through customs
When leaving Turkey, latest in three months following your shopping simply show your purchases, TAX-FREE invoices and passports to customs officials and have your Global Refund invoice/cheque stamped.
Latest in 90 days following the Custom's stamp, you can collect your refund in cash at our nearby Cash Refund Office or send the cheque to Global Refund for a bank cheque sent to your address or direct crediting of your credit card.

The most important aspect of intelligent traveling is the issue of  what to take with you. This will determine the size of your luggage, the weight of your load, and the state of your happiness. 
A list of stuff you might want to take is very different from a list of things you can't travel comfortably without. 
Check weather forecast at the destination. Check hotels for hairdryers and toiletries. Check local customs for clothing guidelines. And have a look at the tips below;
* Choose hardcover suitcase with wheels and a carryon with wheels similar to the ones the flight crews. Be sure your carryon is within 9 X 14 X 22 inches . 
* Place your name, telephone number and address both inside and outside all your luggage. This is absolutely essential if you do not want to lose it forever.
* Carry half in carryon, half in partner's bag if traveling with someone. (And half his clothes in your bag.) If one of our bags is lost, we still have half our clothes. This should not happen if you have a carryon, but someone could take off with yours by mistake.
* Eliminate items from the list whenever you can , add items if you must, to address your business needs, hobbies, personal interests, etc., but resist the temptation to add non-essentials. If you're thinking "I might need this", you're likely mistaken; if it's "I can't survive without this", you may be right. 
* Smart travelers plan to wash clothes during the trip . So one of your evening chores becomes doing the day's laundry .Wash and rinse the clothes (most days, this will only be socks and undergarments) in the sink of your hotel.  Rolling wet clothes in a towel, and wringing the towel tightly (with clothes inside), is an old traveler's trick to extract water and thus considerably speed the drying process. Then hang the garments some where in your room or the balcony. Of course you can also use the laundry service of your hotel, preinform the exact time that your clothes would be ready. Tell the exact time you are leaving so they understand the urgency.
* Minimize clothing by selecting one or two color scheme. Choose fabrics carefully: natural fabrics can be cooler, but wrinkle more easily , dry more slowly, and are generally heavier than synthetics. Knitted fabrics are less prone to creasing. Choose only comfortable clothing that can be coordinated in different ways. Include shawls and scarves as wardrobe extenders. 
* Pack heavy items, such as shoes and toiletry kits before the more delicate ones. Place them along the suitcase's spine to balance weight at the bottom. 
* To reduce wrinkling, turn jackets inside out and fold them in half with tissue paper or dry-cleaning bags. 
* Stuff socks and rolled-up belts into shoes to save space. 
* Take along plastic bags for laundry or wet swimsuits. 
* Hang clothing in the bathroom while showering to steam out wrinkles. (Most electric gadgets can't build up enough steam to smooth rumpled garments.) 

On Entry :  Items may be brought into the country duty free :
* Personal effects of the tourist.
* One TV, one color pocket TV (maximum 16 cm screen), one TV-tape-radio combination, one video recording camera and 5 video cassettes (blank); 5 records, 5 tape cassettes or compact discs. One video player, cine-projector (8 mm) and 10 rolls of film (blank), one slide projector, one portable typewriter
* One pocket computer (maximum main memory capacity Ram 128k. Byte), electronic playing devices (without cassette - keyboard). One transistor radio and portable radio - tape player (its specification to be determined by the Ministry of Finance and Customs), one Walkman or pocket tape recorder, one portable compact disc player.
* Binoculars (one pair, except night binoculars), harmonica, mandolin, flageolet, flute, guitar, and accordion (only one of each type, maximum 3 musical instruments).
* Personal sports equipment.
* Necessary medical items.
* Bicycle, baby buggy, toys.
* 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars. 200 grams of tobacco and 200 cigarette papers, or 50 grams of chewing tobacco or 200 grams of pipe tobacco, or 200 grams of snuff .(In addition to the above allowances, it is possible to purchase 400 cigarettes, 100 cigars, and 500 grams of pipe tobacco from the Turkish Duty Free Shops upon entering the country).
* 1.5kg. coffee, 1.5kg. instant coffee, 500 grams of tea. 1 kilo chocolate and 1 kilo sweets.5 (100 cc) or 7 (70 cc) bottles of wines and/or spirits. Five bottles of perfume (120 ml max. each).
* First aid, and spare parts for the car.
* Other items necessary during the journey.
But !!!
! Valuable items and all items with a value of over $ 15,000 must be registered in the owner's passport upon entering Turkey, for control upon exit. 
! Antiques brought into the country must be registered in the owner's passport to avoid difficulties on exit.
! Sharp instruments (including camping knives) and weapons may not be brought into the country without special permission.
The bringing into the country, trade, and consumption of marijuana and all other narcotics is strictly forbidden and subject to heavy punishment.
Gifts, not exceeding 500 DM in value and not for trading purposes, may be brought into the country duty free. In addition, gifts not exceeding 500 DM in value may be posted to Turkey duty free, if the date stamped by the sending post office falls one month before, or one month after the following holidays: Seker Bayrami, Kurban Bayrami, Christmas, and New Year's.
Cellular Telephones entering the country must be accompanied by a certification form showing ownership. Ownership must be documented in the passport of the owner and will be checked on entry and exit. 

On Exit : Tips for exit custom regulations. 
For a new carpet, a proof of purchase; for old items, a certificate from a directorate of a museum is necessary.
Exporting antiques from Turkey is forbidden.
Valuable personal items can only be taken out of the country providing they have been registered in the owner's passport upon entry, or providing they can show they have been purchased with legally exchanged currency.
Minerals may only be exported from the country with a special document obtained from the;
MTA (General Directorate of Mining Exploration and Research).
Etdler Dairesi 06520, Ankara
Tel: (312) 287 34 30 / 16 22



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